Monday, June 10, 2013

In Search of a Solution to Make Cool Cars

Cool cars are cars coated in reflective materials. These materials reflect solar radiation at much higher levels than traditional cars. As a result, less heat is absorbed into the car, requiring lower levels of air conditioning. Studies indicate that cool cars could reduce energy use in cars by 20%

In 2009, as part of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, California proposed that all cars sold in 2012 and beyond be cool cars. These regulations were estimated to eliminate 700,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions by 2020. This is equal to the effect of 140,000 fewer cars on the road. 

However, California later scrapped the proposal due to concerns that the reflective coating limited GPS and cell phone signals. Cell phones and GPS devices would still work fine in urban areas where signals are strong, but would be limited in many rural areas. Additionally, cool cars would potentially be incompatible with California’s E-Z pass system. 

It remains to be seen if technological solutions can overcome this problem and allow cool cars to gain widespread appeal. The additional cost of manufacturing cool cars is only $39 to $128 per vehicle, and the higher cost is quickly offset by reduced fuel costs. Overall, cool cars offer a low-cost way to quickly and substantially reduce emissions. Reducing transportation emissions is essential to mitigating climate change, and I know I will be keeping an eye on any developments in cool car technology.

Edited By: Matt Berggren

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